The Social Security Disability system in the United States is very complicated. Whether you are a recently disabled father trying to provide for your family, a single mother who can no longer work because of an illness, or the parent of a child who needs extra help because of a challenging condition, obtaining benefits is not easy. The “system” involves a complex set of rules and requirements that make it very hard for the average person to successfully receive payments.

There is hope, however, and we appreciate you looking for help here. Our law firm provides unique benefits to clients just like you, which include:

  • A singular focus on representing the injured and disabled.
  • Having all important work performed by an experienced disability attorney.
  • A guarantee that you pay no fees unless you obtain social security disability benefits.
  • A proven track record of success in both routine and difficult cases.

Regardless of whether you are considering filing for benefits for the first time, or have been denied numerous times in the past, please call our office at (404) 255-9838. We will discuss your options free of charge, and help you make an informed decision about what to do next. We look forward to talking with you.

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Medicaid is the federal government health insurance program for people in poverty.  Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individuals qualified for this program if they lived at about 64% of the federal poverty level.  In 2023 the federal poverty level is $13,590 for an individual.  The ACA allowed states to expand eligibility for Medicaid to 138% of the federal level (about $18,754 for a single individual in 2023).

To date, forty states have expanded Medicaid.  The states that did not adopt Medicaid are:  Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  South Dakota has adopted but not implement Medicaid expansion.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 provided financial incentives for expanding Medicaid. The coronavirus pandemic adversely affected health outcomes through lack of access to healthcare and increased mortality.  Coverage options for many low-income adults are limited in non-expansion states.

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January marks the 52nd anniversary of National Blood Donor Month.  Roughly three percent of the U.S. population donates blood each year.  A blood transfusion occurs every two seconds in America.  National Blood Donor month celebrates those who donate regularly and the lives saved as a result.  The winter months are the leanest for donations due to weather and seasonal illnesses.

The nation’s blood supply has dipped to concerning levels and could force hospitals to delay essential blood and platelet transfusions.  Blood donors of all blood types – particularly type O, the type hospitals need the most – are needed to meet hospital demands.

Around 5.6 million donations are collected by the Red Cross every year.  There are approximately 3.3 million people who donate blood which creates over 8 million trans-fusable blood products.  Every year 4.5 million Americans need blood transfusions.

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In honor of Mental Wellness Month in January, Georgia has made positive improvements in access to care.

The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) hosts a crisis line 24/7 at 1 800 715 4225.  House Bill 9 will continue to maintain the access line through the DBHDD.  The purpose of the DBHDD is to assist Georgians with diagnosed mental illness and/or co-occurring substance use disorder.   They can assist with assessment and recovery planning, physician and nursing services, community resources and therapy.

Last year the Georgia legislature passed the Mental Health Parity Act which expanded access to affordable mental health treatment across the state.  The Act required that all health insurance plans must cover mental health conditions the same as physical conditions; and that patient can no longer be denied medically necessary treatment.  The Act provided for training for law enforcement in mental health and established loan forgiveness to encourage students to become mental health professionals.  This bill passage was the primary legislative goal of House Speaker David Ralston who died in November 2022.

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This week marks National Healthy Weight Week.  The National Foundation for Cancer Awareness suggests American celebrate Weight Loss Week with these eight steps:  find an enjoyable form of exercise; take smalls steps to weight loss goals; drink more water; get plenty of sleep; alleviate stress with yoga or meditation; cut back on alcohol; eat more fruits and vegetables and finally, set a weight loss goal.

A normal Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9.  A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.  A BMI over 30 is considered obese.  Currently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that about 74% of Americans are overweight or obese.  Adults ages 40 to 59 have the highest rate of obesity.  About 40% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American.  Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death.  Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer are prominent in adults who are overweight or obese.   Health specialists opine that sedentary work lifestyles and a fast food culture contributes to unhealthy weight gain.  Dieticians suggest that healthy weight loss of one to two pounds per week is recommended.

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In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech, covered by the Associated Press, before the annual meeting of the American Medical Association convention.  As the AP reported, he said:  “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane”.

Dr. King pointed out that hospitals in receipt of federal funds and bound by the recently passed Civil Rights Act still covertly or overtly discriminated against Blacks, particularly in the South.  Officials at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) threatened to cut off aid to hospitals found guilty of practicing discrimination.  A government survey of health and welfare services desegregation in the South had revealed wide-spread non-compliance with the law in federally supported programs.  A survey sponsored by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights found that almost all Southern state hospitals remained segregated, with the exception of mental hospitals.

Over fifty years later, health care disparities by race continue.  The Health Equity Tracker defines “health equity” as a status when all people, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic status, geographic location, or other society constructs have fair and just access, opportunity, and resources to achieve their highest potential for health”.

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Drops in COVID masking, testing and vaccination are continuing to create the perfect conditions for a new variant to emerge.  Experts warn that a new variant could cause significant mortality.

The U.S. is experiencing its highest levels of influenza hospitalizations in a decade.  Also, hospitalizations for respiratory illnesses such as RSV and COVID-19 are rising.  COVID-19 cases rose  following the Thanksgiving holiday, and COVID-related hospitalizations have increased over the past week.   However, the rate of weekly deaths from COVID-19 have decreased by 17%.  New cases of COVID-19 continue to be reported at a rate of 3 million per week nationally.  Experts worry that the combination of stable COVID-19 with other respiratory illnesses on the rise may spur a new variant resistant to vaccinations.

As respiratory cases rise and COVID precautions fall, the World Health Organization warns that a perfect storm may arise for a more deadly COVID-19 variant.   The CDC continues to encourage COVID-19 and flu vaccinations for personal protection and for public health reasons.


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The country is still under a Public Health Emergency (“PHE”) and will be through January 11, 2023.  This can be extended by the Biden Administration.  At the start of the pandemic Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which included a requirement that Medicaid programs keep people continuously enrolled through the end of the month in which the COVID-19 public health emergency ends.  Congress provided federal funding for states to do this.  Due to the continuous enrollment requirement, Medicaid enrollment has grown substantially and the uninsured rate has dropped.  But when the PHE  ends, millions of people could lose coverage that could reverse recent gains in coverage.

Total Medicaid grew to 90.6million in August 2022, an increase of 19.3 million or more than 27.15 from Enrollment in Feb 2020.  Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that between 5 million and 14 million people will lose Medicaid coverage once the PHE ends.  States are required to develop operational plans for how they will approach unwinding the process.

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Pending before the Supreme Court this session are two important health care cases:  Health and Hospital Corp. v Talevski and Kerr v. Edwards.  At issue is whether the Court could strip Medicaid beneficiaries, the providers that serve them, and any other beneficiary of a state administered health and welfare program, of access to court redress should state officials deny, reduce or terminate benefits guaranteed under federal law.  Federal statutes guarantee that the poorest Americans have rights.  Yet without the right to seek help from the federal courts when rights to essential services, such as medical care and food, are threatened, then the right ceases to exist.  The essence of legal entitlement is the ability to protect one’s benefits against arbitrary, unlawful termination or denial.  When access to a court is denied, then benefits cease to be rights and rather simply become a charitiable gift – which can be removed at will.

These cases ask whether the Court should reexamine its holding that Spending Clause legislation gives rise to privately enforeceable rights under Section 1983.  Like the review of Roe vs. Wade, these cases invite a review of fifty-five years of judicial precedent.  Moreover, the court’s review suggests it may have a disregard of all judicial opinions that expanded the rigths of beneficiaries for programs such as Medicaid – the nation’s largest public health insurer.  The state of South Carolina in Kerr expressly asks whether private individuals can bring claims against state Medicaid officials for violations of federal Medicaid law.  They argue for the elimination of section 1983 actions for Spending Clauses benefits.

About 84 million Americans receive Medicaid, SNAP or TANF benefits, that is about 26 percent of the US population.  About 45 million children receive SNAP benefits.  Of the 84 million, 41 % are white non-Hispanic, 20 % were black, 27 percent Hispanic.  The majority of the beneficiaries are women, 37 percent are children.  The result is that state officials may simply suspend Medicaid enrollment or deny covered treatments without having to face the prospect of court injunction.

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On Wednesday the House passed a one week Continuing Resolution to avoid a government shutdown and to extend the time period to fully fund the governement through September 2023.  Congress last funded the government (through a continuing resolution) for the fiscal year that began in October through December 16th.  Both parties claim a desire to pass a full appropriations package that funds the government through September 2023.  Funding the Social Security Administration is of particular concern.

Complaints of service problems with Social Security increased during the pandemic.  Currently field offices are open on a limited basis for in-person service.  Over the pandemic period, disabled claimants waited 29 to 45 days for a phone appointment to file a claim.  Wait times for all phone calls to the agency averaged 33 minutes – with much longer times reported.  Claims processing times increased 45% (from 95 days to 139 days) at the intial application.  Field offices faced staff departures and struggled to attract new hires.  Years of underinvestment in the agency combined with the pandemic severely affected service.  From 2010 to 2021 the agency’s budget (adjusted for inflation) fell 14% as its caseload increased by 21%.  As a result Social Security struggles to provide essential services to the disabled and retirees.

In the continuing resolution, Congress funded SSA with bipartisan support at $400 million above the fiscal year 2022 level.  This funding increase staved off additional service-related problems created by a hiring and overtime freeze necessitated by low funding.   The Biden administration asked for a 12% increase over 2022 funding.

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Some good news appears on the Social Security horizon.  Benefits increase, premiums decrease, and the amount you can earn while receiving retirement goes up.  For those in the higher income brackets, more income will be taxed however.

For the first time in years, SSA implemented a large cost of living adjustment at 8.7%.  Beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) will see their first payments increased with the January benefit.  The payment will arrive in bank accounts on December 30, 2022 according to the SSA’s payment schedule.  The monthly maximum federal SSI amount is $914.  The maximum amount for eligible couples is $1371.  An essential individual can received $458.

Another 2023 change will raise the limit on the annual earnings that can be taxed by Social Security.  Maximum taxable earnings rise to $160,200 in 2023 from $147,000 in 2022.

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